What a wonderful freedom it would be to be mortgage free and have debt relief at an early age. If you are already in your 30’s and it looks like years before you are mortgage free, take heart, maybe your goal can be to become mortgage free sooner.
Did you read the recent CBC News story of 30 year old Sean Cooper who recently paid off his $255,000 mortgage in 3 years? There are other Canadians who have tackled the seeming unrealistic endeavor of being mortgage free at a young age; Stephen Weyman, a software developer and father of two from Moncton, NB and mortgage free at 31, Tim Stobbs, mortgage free at 34, an engineer in Regina, SK, a mortgage free 30 year old school teacher from Toronto and most likely more. While they are to be commended for this amazing feat, how realistic is this for you and your family?
In reading about these mortgage free Canadians, their situations differed from each other, but all made the most of them. For example, Sean Cooper is not married or have a family and this allowed him to work 3 jobs and be very frugal, the software developer in Moncton was married with 2 kids and put down 35,000 on a semi-detached $107,000, the teacher in Toronto was single and put a down payment of $180,000 into her condo; the software developer bought a $190,000 Regina home in 2006 with a $40,000 down payment. Being mortgage free can depend on a few factors, where you live in Canada and how much you pay for your home, the sacrifices you make, if you are married or single with a family, how much and how long you’ve already saved for you down payment. Each had different circumstances, but what they all had in common was a driving force to become mortgage free.
I can’t tell you in a blog personally how to be mortgage free, but I can give you some common strategies people use to become mortgage free sooner. Even taking a few years off paying your mortgage can be a great accomplishment. Not everyone started saving in their teens, wants to sacrifice time with their family, work 3 jobs, or whatever else you feel could prevent you, but you can make some changes that will work for you.
Reduce Mortgage Debt with These Tips
Many Canadians who have purchased a home will tell you, paying off the mortgage is one of the most remarkable steps towards a happy and financially stress-free retirement. Therefore, it should be a financial goal to reduce mortgage debt as fast as possible. Here are some helpful ideas to help you realize that goal.
You Can Refinance
Considering the condition of the mortgage market a few years ago, I would consider today’s rates as very competitive. If you refinance your mortgage now with lower mortgage rates, you can shorten the length of your mortgage.
Consider Short-Term Mortgages
Discuss with your lender about the amortization options available to see how choosing a shorter-term mortgage can affect your loan costs. Yes, payments may increase but the interest payable will decrease significantly in most cases.
Round Up Your Payments
Is your usual mortgage payment an odd number? By simply rounding up the payment to an even number, you can increase your annual payments and be able to pay up faster. The best thing with this approach is that you may not even feel the pinch.
Pay More Frequently (Weekly or bi-Weekly)
Most Canadian home buyers are familiar with this method because it has been there for eons. Accelerated payment helps you add a few thousand dollars at the end of the year. I am finding more people using the bi-weekly method and the results are a full month of payment at the end of the year.
Lump-Sum Mortgage Payments
If your lender permits it, you should consider making lump-sum payments for your mortgage. Note that different mortgage institutions have different prepayment policies, so it is advisable to refer to your agreement for the relevant details.
If you find you have some surplus income, consider putting this ion your mortgage to help pay it down. This is a lot better than buying something you may not need as the money will be doing towards your investment in the property and not something random.
Occasionally, fortune may strike in the form of a few hundred dollars from unexpected quarters. By putting this money towards extra mortgage payment, you will help you pay down your mortgage faster.
Rent Out Some Space
Renting out a basement or guest room, even for just a few years as this can help to pay off your mortgage sooner and put extra money in your pocket.
It’s Okay to Downsize
You should consider selling things that you don’t need or use very often. You may be able to put a significant amount of money down on your mortgage this way. Selling your newer car, for example, to buy an older one can help you save some money and clear your mortgage faster.
Shop Around and See a Broker
You can get the best mortgage rates in Canada if you shop around. Speak with your local mortgage broker so you can compare mortgage rates and see what is out there on the current marketplace
Watch out for Prepayment Penalties or Fees
You should check the mortgage agreement to ensure there are no prepayment fees or other fees that you need to pay. Depending on your lender or mortgage type, some penalties may apply. Therefore, save you pain and disappointment by looking out for those extra prepayment conditions.
It is possible to reduce your mortgage debt load. All it takes is some simple changes on your part too have more money to put down on your mortgage. Get more great ideas about mortgage payment and to compare the best mortgage rates at Ratestead.ca.
Create your Budget
Create a realistic budget and commit to sitting down at least twice a month to update, review your accounts and bills and track your progress against your financial goals.
Save on Utilities
Go through all your bills, see what ways you can save on each bill. Here are some examples:
Electricity and Gas – Odds are your providers have some energy saving tips on their website or give them a call to find out how to save on your bill.
Cable or Internet – See what you can do without, you may not need that many channels or that much data.
Cell Phone – Compare Cell phone plans and ask yourself just how important it is to get the latest cell phone. Even if you go on a plan to save on a cell phone, you still may be required pay quite a bit more over what the cell phone company offers.
Savings in General
If you get any extra money, such as a pay increase, income tax refund, or whatever, put it towards your mortgage or use to pay off any high interest debt.
Shop the sales and do not pay the regular price unless absolutely necessary. Only shop when you the item is needed and try to wait at least 48 hours before you make a purchase. Sign up for email notifications at your favourite stores to get notified of their sales (I find getting a good quality item on sale from a higher end store is much better than buying cheaper quality from a bargain basement type store). By getting notifications, I’m able to schedule my time better, without having to shop endless stores looking for sales. Note: don’t just buy because it’s on sale.
Mortgage Rates – Renewing and Refinancing
Ensure you get the best mortgage rates by comparing the various mortgage brokers and banks. Don’t just get a rate because you have a bank account there. Do your research.
You may think you are stuck with a high interest – long term mortgage rate, but check out your options for refinancing with a lender or mortgage broker who can give you a better rate. They can tell you if you can save money by switching.
Before you renew with your current lender, start comparing other mortgage rates, you may be pleasantly surprised that you can get a better rate.
If you have not yet purchased a home, be realistic about the mortgage you can carry. Check out our Mortgage Calculators for Mortgage Affordability.
Make provisions for a rainy day (and can sometimes can seem like a typhoon) – Everyone is required to get Mortgage Default insurance if they have less than 20% of a down payment, but you may want to look into getting a good Home Mortgage Insurance. Best to get a qualified insurance broker to handle your insurance; the insurance sometimes offered by your bank may not be worth anything. A recent Marketplace episode told of people who purchased home insurance thinking they were covered, but were denied. Learn more and watch this episode.
Why not make your driving force to be Mortgage Free Sooner! One of our driving forces at Ratestead.ca is finding ways to save Canadians money, whether it is on their cell phone bill, where to find shopping deals, comparing credit card interest or saving on mortgage payments etc. We hope we assist you, even in a small way, to achieve financial freedom.